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Characteristics of Agoraphobia Fictions in 2017



Literary work is a manifestation of human culture so that what we have seen in the literature is a picture of people’s life. Both those related to the pattern of structure, function, activities and socio-cultural conditions as the background of community life at the time the literary work it was created (Fananie, 2002: 193).

Literary works are imaginative works. However, literary works are not created entirely from the imagination of the author. Usually, the author describes what he captures from life around him (Budianta, 2002: 20). Literary work can also be seen as a “recorder” of the social life of society within a specified period. It means that literature can be viewed.

Literature/fiction was not born from a cultural vacuum (Theew, 15: 2012). From this viewpoint, it can be interpreted that fiction reflects a developing environment or issue. Today’s fiction has experienced rapid development so that the media for delivering fiction is increasingly diverse. The most popular or famous media is film.

Characteristics of Agoraphobia Fiction in 2017

The film itself is an audiovisual media that displays dramatically simulated events created as entertainment media. However, fiction does not exist only as a medium of entertainment or escapism. It also reflects a discourse that develops at one time or another. Hollywood fiction does not only reflect the discourse that is developing in America alone, but the American event can be a world discourse or a global discourse. This is because America itself has the power to influence, even become a trend, from lifestyle, socio-culture, technology, to the worldview of modern humans.

To defend a region, it is not impossible for a country; in this case, America, to develop surveillance and security technology. This is because America has a position as a country that has substantial control over the world, be it control over the economy, politics, or culture. So an intense surveillance and security control is needed to sustain the existence of a vast country in order to maintain full control over all the polemics it faces. With a sophisticated surveillance and security system in a region/country, it can anticipate things that have not happened and tactically, they can be resolved quickly.

Having a sophisticated surveillance and security system is still a polemic because even though it can guarantee security stability in an area, on the other hand, it can be a tool to gain power. The discussion about power is an exciting thing that has never been discussed. This has started since the era of ancient Greece and continues to this day. Classical philosophers generally associated power with goodness, virtue, justice and freedom.

In the modern and contemporary ages, the discussion of power remains relevant. Internationally, the management of power is an ever-updating issue. The discussion of power remains essential especially when it is in humanity’s interest to find ways to balance power (Michael Sheehan, The Balance of Power: History & Theory (London: Routledge, 1996), 146.). If the distribution of power is balanced, international security will automatically be guaranteed. A balanced distribution of power is the ideal of all nations. A balance of power is needed just at a time when armed power and militarism between countries seem to be at a very competitive level, so that war is concerned. Oppression and unfair treatment will naturally decrease if the concept of power and privacy issues can be addressed. The world order with power that is balanced with privative matters is the world order as expected.

In his report, La Rue stressed the need for every country to have laws that clearly describe the conditions that the right to privacy of individuals can be limited under certain conditions, and measures to address this right must be taken based on a decision. This decision was taken by the State authorities guaranteed by law to carry out such action (Frank La Rue. “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression”, Paragraph 59, A / HRC / 14/23. Report – UN HRC – OHCHR.https://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27_en.pdf (accessed May 12, 2020)).

Humans in social and state life have rights that must be obtained and fulfilled since human birth even before humans are born so that the nature of rights is absolute. Due to the absolute nature of rights, this right should be protected, especially the active role of the state is needed in protecting the rights of its people. One of the rights that must be protected is the right to privacy. This right to privacy provides freedom and discretion for humans to move in areas of their personal life. Westin (1967) simply defines the right to privacy as a claim from individuals, groups, or institutions to determine themselves when, how, and the extent to which information about them is communicated to others. The breadth of privacy coverage usually makes the number of privacy arrangements in a country, both in type and degree (AF Westin, Privacy and Freedom (New York: Atheneum, 1967), pages 7-8.). The definition and scope of other privacy concepts that are often referred to is the formula developed by William Posser, concerning at least four things: (William Posser, as cited in DeCew, Judith, “Privacy”, The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2012 Eds), Edward N Zalta (ed).https://plato.standford.edu/archives/fall2012/entries/privacy/ (accessed March 27, 2020))

Interference with someone’s actions to isolate themselves or to be alone, or interference with their relationships. Public disclosure of embarrassing personal facts.

The publicity that puts someone wrong in public. Unauthorized tenure of one’s likeness for the benefit of others.

Knowing privacy is essential and becomes fundamental in life. As a result of the phenomenon of the privacy crisis, it forms people’s behaviour forcibly and kills the freedom that everyone should have. In 2017 several American fictions covered issues of a privacy crisis. From this it also becomes a paradox, it could be that these fictions represent the phenomenon of the privacy crisis that occurred in America or American fiction in 2017 that triggered the phenomenon of the privacy crisis in America.

Based on this background, the researcher was interested in conducting research entitled Agoraphobia Fictions; American Privacy Crisis Phenomenon Represented In American Fictions 2017.

Problem Statement

  • What are the characteristics of the 2017 agoraphobic fictions?
  • How the 2017 American fiction represents the impact of panopticism
  • How is America’s crisis of privacy represented in the 2017 American fiction?

Objective Research (Research Purposes)

 According to the research question above, the objectives of the research were as followed:

  • To find out the characteristics of agoraphobia fiction in 2017
  • To find out about the 2017 American fiction that represents the impact of panopticism
  • To find out how America’s privacy crisis is presented in American fiction 2017

Significant Research (Research Target)

It is hoped that with this research the reader will be able to recognize other forms of colonialization

Other students also expect this research of English literature as a reference in research on the discussion of ideology and power

Hopefully, this research will help other students in the English literature department by using it as a reference for further studies especially power and ideology

Previous Finding (Previous Research)

The researcher found there were some previous finding which related and relevant to this research as follows:

Diana Manzila (2013) in the research entitled “Power and domination on utterances used by the main character of the help movie”, she has found that power and domination on utterances used by the main character of the help movie. This research is expected to provide broader knowledge of how the strategies and their power relation use in the conversation which show the power and domination of the majority group and minority group.

Cahyo Waskito Pur Antomo (2013)in the research entitled”The power relations in the novel knit the dignity of Putu Oka Sukanta’s work” He has found that the form power relation with thinking and body in novel knits dignity. In this research to provide awareness to people how the power and knowledge become to things related to each other.

Theoretical Background

Ideological State Apparatuses

The word Panopticon derives from the Greek word for “all seeing” – panoptes. (Alan Briskin (1998). Stirring of Soul in the Workplace. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. p. 77.ISBN9781605096162). The Panopticon is a type of institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow all prisoners of an institution to be observed by a single security guard, without the inmates being able to tell whether they are being watched. (Wikipedia)

Panopticon is a large prison building with round and circular texture. On the sides of the circle are rooms and in the centre of the building is a watchtower. From the tower, we can see in all directions, especially to the prison chambers around the tower. Each room has two large windows, there is a window facing the watchtower, and there is also a window facing outside which functions as a light beam. As for lighting at night, the lights are arranged in such a way that they have a dual function, as a light for the detainees and at the same time make it easier for monitors to see the shadows of the detainees inside.

In his classic work, Panopticon; Or The Inspector House, published in 1787, Jeremy Bentham proposed a model that could be used to build a prison system with an entire environment that was controllable. Bentham got the Panopticon idea from plans to build a military school in France, which was designed to facilitate surveillance. The original design itself came from Bentham’s older brother, Samuel, who made Panopticon the solution to the complexities of engagement, in dealing with large numbers of people. Bentham’s Panopticon was intended to be a cheaper prison model than other prisons of its time, requiring only a few staff.

In its later development, Panopticon is no longer just architectural design, but it has become a model for community supervision and discipline, which is also applied today. The philosopher who examines the problem of community discipline using the Panopticon model is Michel Foucault. Michel Foucault mentioned this Panopticon design in his book Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la Prison (1975) which was published in France, and later

translated into English under the title Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1977). (Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish: The Birth Of The Prison (America: Penguin Books, 1995), p. 195)

The panopticon concept is mainly applied in prisons. The best example is in the Prison building of the Presidio Modelo in Cuba. The concept of a prison with a tower in the centre of the room is key to the concept of surveillance that Bentham offers. The tower rotates and inside is a warden who is closely watching the cells around it. Michel Foucault sees that even though there are no wardens behind the tower, the prisoners’ conscious structure will always consider themselves under surveillance. Foucault then abstracts the concept of the Panopticon in his critique of what he calls “the discipline method of modernity”.

Foucault Authority Concept

According to Foucault (1997), power must be understood: as various immanent power relations in which the power is apply by the constituent elements and their organization.

The game with the way of struggle and endless fighting transform, strengthen, and counter.

Various power relationships that support each other form circuit or system.

From the explanation above, Foucault insists that power is everywhere, not because it includes everything. However, because of power come from everywhere. Power is channelled through social relationships which produce forms of categorization as controlling behaviour such as good and evil. Then Foucault (1997: 116-119) put forward several propositions regarding power.

That power is not something that is obtained, usurped, or shared.

Power functions based on countless elements and in the game of unequal relationships and moves.

That power relations are open and cannot released from the influence of other relationships.

That power comes from below, or it can be said that power does not provide superstructure. Where there is no binary opposition between the dominant and the dominated. The various power relations Tis formed and functions in the production apparatus, such as a family, groups, and institutions

That power relations are intentional and not subjective. Although it is said that this relationship is the impact of other agencies. All are calculated because there is no power applies aimlessly.

Wherever there is power, there must be resistance.

If we wish to examine more profoundly and substantially about power, Michel Foucault’s ideas are worth exploring. In his book “Power / Knowledge”: Selected Interviews and Other Writings (1972-1977), Foucault seems very good at elaborating on his ideas about power. Even in all of his books, from the first book, Maladine Mentale et Personnalitte (1954) (Mental and Personality Diseases) to the last book, The History of Sexuality, translation of, Histoire de la Sexualite ‘de Savoir (1976), he always inserts the theme of power in it. Especially for the book Power / Knowledge, which was the result of conversations with several admirers, followers and discussion partners, Foucault seemed inspired by the way Jeremy Bentham elaborated on his ideas about power. Bentham’s ways of explaining the technological operation of power seemed to make Foucault realize that power was not at all identical with the king in the monarchy system. Power is spread within each individual by entering into the order and system, and then that system and order force the individual to follow it.

As with the Panopticon, there is also a monitoring pattern that is similar to the previous Panopticon and is an inspiration for thinkers to see how powerful technology works. This can be found in the first model of the supervised isolation system in the dormitories of the Military Schools in Paris in 1751. Physically, the isolation system in the dormitories is more complex and extreme than the Panopticon. Every dormitory resident who commits a mistake is punished by being put in a glass cell, monitored day and night without being allowed to make contact with his friends, especially with the general public. Barbers who wanted to shave the hair of prisoners were not allowed to touch them physically. The prisoner’s head is only removed through a small hole, while his entire physique remains in the detention room.

Those of you who have never read Foucault’s works may be wondering; what is the illustration for? what does this have to do with the concept of power being discussed? Foucault, with his style that is not to the point and wasteful of words, is introducing a power technology designed in such a way to solve surveillance problems. Panopticon construction is nothing but to facilitate and streamline power training. Through the panopticon mechanism, monitors or even ordinary people can continuously monitor individuals in detention cells. Meanwhile, the people in the detention room never knew or saw who was watching and seeing them.

Thus, prisons, and especially prisons that follow the Panopticon model, provide the ideal form of modern punishment. Foucault thinks this is why general “soft” punishments, which take the form of working groups for the public, are defeated by prison. This is the ideal punitive modernization, for its dominance is ultimately natural.

Here Foucault challenges the generally accepted idea that a prison is a consistent form of punishment thanks to the humanitarian concerns of the reformists, although Foucault does not deny this. Foucault does this by closely tracking the shifts in culture, leading to prison domination, by focusing on the body and questions of power.

The main effect of the panopticon system is that the power functions automatically. In the panoptic mechanism, the individuals who live in each cell are always aware that they are continually being watched. Therefore the individual puts a burden on himself. On the other hand, it does not matter who exercises power, because after all, it will not affect individuals because they do not see it. Every individual, anyone can sit in the central tower, and it does not matter what motivation drives him to exercise that power. Panopticon has an ethical principle of “visible”, namely that individuals are always placed under permanent monitoring (permanent ) and “unverifiable”, namely that the individual can never know whenever he is being watched, except that he must be sure that he is always being watched. (Michel Foucault, Discipline)

Methodology of Research

The method applied in this research is qualitative descriptive research. Qualitative descriptive research is referred to survey research, determines and describes the way things are. Qualitative descriptive research is aimed to comprehend and enlighten the existing phenomena experienced by the subject on the research such as attitude, perception, motivation, action, Etc.

Source Data

The source data of this thesis is American. All the light we cannot see.

Research Instrument 

In this research, the instrument that the researcher used by the researcher itself.

Procedure of Collecting Data 

The researcher watched the movie.

The researcher highlight all scenes that contain agoraphobia.

The research analyzes the characteristic of each character or dialogues that contain agoraphobia.

Technique of Analyzing Data

In analyzing data, the researcher uses Foucault’s Panopticism.

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